Berklee Today

Lead Sheet:

The Benefits of Name Recognition

  Which of the following schools have you or anyone in your household heard of?
Harvard University
Oberlin Conservatory
Berklee College of Music
Eastman School of Music
The Musicians's Institute
Mannes College of Music

If you were to ask people if they have heard of Berklee College of Music, what percentage do you think would say yes, and how do you think that would compare with the percentage of those who have heard of Harvard or Juilliard? A leading market-research company, NFO Research, Inc., recently conducted such a survey, polling a national sample of 13,895 people. NFO found that 26.6 percent had heard of Berklee [see chart at the right]. The findings tell us that while Berklee has high visibility and respect among music students and professional musicians, it is far less known in other sectors.

Image Advisory Group

After conducting this survey, the college formed a representative committee, the Institutional Image Advisory Group (IIAG), to study the benefits of increased name recognition.

We examined the long-term success of Juilliard, which, according to our survey, is synonymous with classical-music education to 73 percent of Americans. We also studied the success of the Sundance Company. Starting as a small festival for independent filmmakers and having minimal advertising, it has become a world-class film festival, a movie channel, and an international platform for independent filmmakers seeking a forum and recognition for their work.

The IIAG concluded that name recognition is crucial for institutional growth and therefore recommended as a strategic initiative for the college, a program to increase Berklee's visibility. Some of the benefits we would achieve from greater public recognition include:

  • the ability to continue to attract talented students, faculty and staff, which maintains utmost quality in the Berklee experience;
  • increased financial support for scholarship programs, which enables Berklee to remain affordable and to support other college initiatives;
  • increased value of the Berklee degree, which encourages alumni participation and donations;
  • increased media coverage, which provides even greater visibility for the college;
  • increased corporate support through in-kind gifts and cobranding initiatives;
  • a platform for achieving a range of initiatives.

Finally, perhaps most important, by increasing Berklee's name recognition with the general public, we will be better able to serve the field of contemporary music.


Berklee 2005

With this initiative approved as part of Berklee's strategic plan for 2000 through 2005, we selected New York-based Siegelgale, a leading corporate-identity firm to work with us. Over the next several months, they will help us research Berklee's identity and public perceptions of Berklee.

Here is Siegelgale's assessment of our current position and the work that lies ahead.
"In 1945, Berklee was the first school of music to be founded upon the iconoclastic concept that professional musicianship could be taught through contemporary music. Today, you still have no competitors—although not for a lack of imitators. The power of the idea has been borne out: Berklee has proven itself to be the demonstrably better choice for musicians who want to make a life and a career in music.

Recently, Berklee has reached a new level of cultural currency. References [to the college] in the mass media are more and more frequent—due in no small part to the success of your alumni. You see an opportunity to raise your profile in the public consciousness even further, helping to increase your endowment and donor pool, as well as making Berklee a more powerful advocate for contemporary music.

For Berklee to achieve this new level of awareness, we must define what is essential about you in a way that is understandable, credible, memorable, and supportive of your long-term goals. That definition will guide all our subsequent work, from messaging to visual identity."

To accomplish this, they will interview students, faculty, alumni, staff, parents, and representatives of the music industry. They will also review other institutions similar to Berklee to see how they go about achieving recognition and support. In addition, many of you took the time to answer questions in a recent alumni survey about Berklee's strengths. Your responses will provide valuable information for the initiative.

Siegelgale will conduct their work in three phases, which they designate as definition, expression, and management. After each phase, there will be an opportunity for the Berklee community to provide feedback. The project is expected to take about 12 months, and you can read about its progress in future issues of Berklee Today. If you would like to offer any suggestions about this project, please write to the Institutional Image Advisory Group at


Advancing Our Diversity Goals

In 1998, we began to look ahead and discuss Berklee's priorities for the years 2000–2005. Thousands of ideas were presented by the extended Berklee community, and, as a result, a leading strategic initiative of the college became: "We will create a more congenial and supportive environment for women and minorities within our richly diverse community."

Our gender task force has first focused on the position and role of our women faculty. Led primarily by Associate Provost Karen Zorn, the task force comprised faculty and administrators and a professional consultant who worked for over a year to structure a study of the college's needs. The report, which was recently issued to the college community, includes such areas as compensation, promotion, recruitment and hiring, and perception of Berklee's culture with respect to women.

Our task force on diversity has first focused on African American students. Led by Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Bethune and including faculty, staff, and students, the task force is completing arrangements for a professional review of the support needs of minority students.

Meanwhile, the task force has already created additional venues for minority support. It has planned a welcoming event and jam session with faculty and staff geared specifically toward African American students, hosted a sneak preview of the VH1 "Say It Loud" documentary, and created more well-defined special-interest-group settings for all students at the Welcome Barbecue and other events. All of these have been cosponsored by the task force and the Black Student Union, the Berklee Association of Faculty of African Descent, and the College Diversity Committee.

With the participation of many Berklee trustees, we are also considering deepening the original commitment of the strategic initiative by changing the language of the statement to: "Create an environment in which women and minorities feel that they are full and valued members of the institution."

Some of the goals we anticipate adopting include attracting and retaining talented female and minority faculty and staff in all departments of the college, eliminating the perception of gender or minority disparities in decision making, striving for a gender and minority profile throughout the college's faculty and staff that is a model of inclusiveness for the music industry and that maximizes educational effectiveness, and integrating comparable women's and minority achievements and historical contributions more fully into the Berklee curriculum.

This is a big agenda for our college as we move forward, but its achievement will enhance the richness of the Berklee community.